In 2018, the USDA Farm Bill legalized growing CBD dominant (<0.3% THC) cannabis. This led to the growth of the CBD industry with products such as drinks, gummies, tinctures, creams, pet products, and different types such as isolates, distillates, and whole plant CBD. Backing up a bit, what is CBD?
CBD is sought after for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, mood-regulating, neuroprotective, and analgesic qualities. However, while CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, it is not the same as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which also comes from cannabis. CBD is not psychotropic or psychoactive, whereas THC is. Therefore, THC will make you feel ‘high,’ but CBD will not.
CBD can be taken in a variety of ways. Sublingually, or under your tongue, orally by putting CBD solutions in drinks, snacks, or capsules, topically, or inhalation, such as smoking the plant or using an e-cigarette, are popular methods.
CBD and THC: Where They Originate
CBD and THC are cannabinoids produced by cannabis plants in their trichomes. Trichomes are hair-like structures on the plant with a fine crystalline appearance to them. Trichomes play a significant role in the plant’s defenses producing sticky, bitter, and potentially intoxicating cannabinoids and extremely fragrant terpenes.
However, cannabis varieties are like seeded vs seedless watermelons. Some varieties of cannabis have been bred to contain less than 0.3% THC so consumers will not get intoxicated by the THC. This is where the vast majority of the CBD in the United States comes from since these varieties are now legal to grow in the United States under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Then What Is CBDA?
CBDA, or cannabidiolic acid, is the precursor to CBD in cannabis. It is the raw version of CBD before it is heated or decarboxylated. It has many of the same potential benefits as CBD using different methods and works great in combination with CBD.
CBD Types: Isolate vs Full-Spectrum vs Whole Plant
You may have heard of CBD products made from CBD isolates, Full-Spectrum CBD distillates, Broad Spectrum CBD distillates or even Whole Plant CBD. To understand the difference, think of oranges and vitamin C.
CBD can come in a powdered isolate like a vitamin C tablet. This maximizes the amount of CBD but minimizes the flavor and other beneficial compounds found in cannabis.
CBD can also come in a concentrated distillate like a frozen orange juice concentrate. This also has a high CBD percentage but may have added flavors and compounds that are lost during the concentration process.
Whole Plant CBD is like fresh-squeezed orange juice that’s minimally processed to retain the exact flavor and nutrient profile of the orange with no added sugars or flavors.